Winter rides for warming meals

This article was published in 2018, in Magazine 141.

Looking for some cosy winter watering holes to complete your rides? Anne Beamish is co-founder of Independent Cambridge, a company which celebrates the diversity and individuality unique to the local independent (indie) scene. She’s a keen cyclist and has discovered many fantastic indie businesses including restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels which would be worth a visit. We asked her to share some of her favourite indie places beyond the city limits to explore by bike and here’s what she came up with:

The Ancient Shepherds

The Ancient Shepherds
Image as described adjacent

5 High Street, Fen Ditton CB5 8ST

Only 15 minutes from town via National Cycle Route 51 – which takes you alongside the Cam at Stourbridge Common – is the village of Fen Ditton and The Ancient Shepherds pub. After an extensive makeover, the pub now has several different spaces to enjoy. ‘The Fold Bar’ – cosy for a drink or a snack; ‘The Public Bar’ – for ordering drinks and having a chat; ‘The Lounge Bar’ – for informal dining and drinking; ‘The Shepherds’ Kitchen’ – a dedicated informal restaurant and dining space and, when the weather’s good, there’s the outside beer garden.

The Crown and Punchbowl

High Street, Horningsea CB25 9JG

Also on National Cycle Route 51 and 21 minutes from the city centre, The Crown and Punchbowl is part of indie restaurant group Cambscusine and serves local ales straight from the cask whilst the restaurant offers seasonal modern British food. The group also includes other great village gems such as The Tickell Arms in Whittlesford and The Cock at Hemingford Grey.

Country Kitchen

The Country Kitchen
Image as described adjacent

21 Church Street, Haslingfield CB23 1JE

Half an hour from the city by bike, the village of Haslingfield has a fantastic shop, owned and run by a group of local residents. The team searches out top-quality produce from local suppliers – from fruit and vegetables to artisan bread, cheeses, charcuterie and fresh meat. There are also honey, jams and chutneys, cakes, wine and beers and a selection of cards and gifts. The gorgeous homemade cooked meals are other big hits.

The Plough Shepreth

12 High Street, Shepreth SG8 6PP

You can cycle to Shepreth (it takes around 50 minutes) or jump on the train for this one. This pub stood empty for five years until Nick and Jo Davis recognised its potential and transformed it into a lively bar, which opened in 2014 and soon established a reputation for good food, great live music and an exceptional offering of real ale, craft beer, gin, and cider. Cuisine-wise, the pub offers ‘social dining’ – easy, creative and interesting dishes, delivered in a relaxed informal way – including stone-baked pizzas, Friday night fish and chips, and scrumptious Sunday lunches.

The Plough Coton

The Plough
Image as described adjacent

2 High Street, Coton CB23 7PL

It’s only three miles (a 15 minute cycle ride via Adams Road and the quiet, segregated Coton path) to this great village pub and restaurant. The interior is cool and contemporary and the menu is pretty mouth-watering too. From lunches and lighter dishes to the full A La Carte menu, the team at The Plough firmly believes in keeping food fresh and interesting and is committed to working with local suppliers and producers whenever possible. Word on the street is that you have to book!

Burwash Manor

New Road, Barton CB23 7EY

20 minutes by bike will get you out to this awesome indie enclave. Within the converted barn buildings, you’ll find a café, a deli, a butchers, wine shop, spa, contemporary art gallery, toy shop, florists, boutiques and gift and homeware shops – so just make sure you allow a lot more than 20 minutes for your stay!

The Linton Kitchen

30 High Street, Linton CB21 4HS

It will take you just over an hour to cycle out of the city to Linton, but the indies that you find there will make it a worthwhile ride. On Linton High Street, you can enjoy the best of rural English charm and local country food at its freshest and most flavoursome at this very popular cafe and coffee shop. Think delicate sponge cakes with lashings of cream and fresh berries, silky scrambled eggs, thick-cut sandwiches bursting with fresh seasonal produce and an array of savoury tarts and hearty soups.

Winter Rides Members’ Recommend:

City cycles

  • The Petersfield – neighbourhood pub (close to the Hooper Street cut-through) with candles, board games and regular social events.
  • The Mill Pub – classic Cambridge riverside pub with good food and beers, board games and a cosy Snug. Dog-friendly too!
  • The Carlton Arms – friendly local pub in North Cambridge with Spanish tapas on a Friday night.
  • Queen Edith – welcoming pub in the south of the city with good food and drink and disabled access throughout.

Village favourites

  • The Plough, Fen Ditton – a lovely riverside cycle ride away with a crackling fire pit in the garden and a traditional Sunday roast.
  • Three Hills, Bartlow – quality food and friendly staff in a beautifully-decorated pub just past Linton.
  • Square and Compasses, Shelford – classic, cosy village pub just a short ride from the DNA cycle path from Addenbrooke’s.
  • Emmaus cafe, Landbeach – coffee, homemade cakes and snacks in the homelessness charity’s cafe adjacent to their secondhand furniture store.

Looking for further inspiration? Visit independent-cambridge.co.uk and check out the ‘our faves’ and ‘our indies’ menus for a comprehensive list of places to eat and drink in the city and further afield.